Page last updated at 08:34 GMT, Monday, 11 January 2010

What the papers say


Journalist Keith Baker takes a look at what is making the headlines in Monday's morning papers.

No let-up in the pressure on the Robinson family and indeed on the political set-up at Stormont.

Iris Robinson's health gets a lot of coverage. Plenty of pictures of her as well - none of them recent since she hasn't been seen since the scandal broke.

The Irish News says she sought refuge at the home of a family friend in Holywood and she's also understood to have spent some time in seclusion at a second seaside property in County Londonderry.

As for her husband, the News Letter says Peter Robinson's once-impregnable position has been "shattered".

Robinson Crusoe, the Sun calls him.

The News Letter says senior DUP figures will assemble today for what will arguably be the most crucial meeting in the party's history.

There's some support for Mr Robinson from Sammy Wilson writing in the News Letter. He says it would be wrong and spiteful to hound anyone out of office on the basis of the story currently being reported.


But he admits that after the events of last week he was emotionally shattered and asking himself if he really wanted to be in his political job.

The big question is where do we go from here?

David McKittrick in the Independent says peace is being undermined by scandal on a grand scale.

The Belfast Telegraph has an article by Gerry Adams. He says the British and Irish Governments mustn't allow Mr Robinson's problems to bring political progress to a standstill.

The Telegraph itself says this is a time for steady nerves and clear vision.

It says the tribulations of one political family or the complex fragility of the Stormont experiment shouldn't be allowed to lead us back into the worst of the past.

The Irish Times says the DUP are looking at a number of scenarios, should Mr Robinson step down temporarily.

According to a party source one proposal is that Ian Paisley should make a temporary comeback.

The paper says Dr Paisley, who observes a sabbatarian silence, has yet to pronounce on the issue and his comments could be telling.

Noel Doran, the editor of the Irish News, reminisces about his days as a local government correspondent covering Castlereagh council where he says the Robinsons "held court".

He says Iris Robinson's contributions were aggressive with her voice "rising to a crescendo" as she condemned the media and in particular his reporting.

But he says it was equally unnerving when in her vivacious way she'd come over for a chat during tea breaks.

But there is other news around as well.


The death in Afghanistan of the Sunday Mirror correspondent Rupert Hamer features on several cross channel front pages.

The rumblings in the Labour party feature as well.

James Purnell, who quite the Cabinet last year, writes in the Guardian. He tells Gordon Brown: "Don't be safe, be radical."

He calls Mr Brown a remarkable man, a view not shared by commentator Bruce Anderson in the Independent. He says it's hard to exaggerate the dislike which the Prime Minister arouses among senior Labour figures.

There are a couple of interesting medical stories about this morning.

The Daily Telegraph says scientists have decoded the gene which holds the key to the rhythm of life by making the heart beat. Experts hope this could lead to drug treatments to avoid heart problems.

Then we have the painful subject of migraine. The Mail and others report that researchers have worked out why light makes the headaches worse. And it says for migraine sufferers there could be light at the end of the tunnel.

And plenty in the papers about the weather as well.

A letter in the Guardian says it's probably too late to worry about salt and grit but what contingency plans are there for the baby boom that will come nine months from now?

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